Building a solid support system is key for any addict looking to successfully transition home after rehab.
Keep reading to find out what kinds of people can offer the best support to you or your loved one after rehab.
Why You Need a Support System
You may be wondering why you need to build a support network after rehab when you could just go at it alone. While you may be successful in maintaining your sobriety without a support network, research has shown that having a group of trusted friends or family members to lean on can make all the difference in how long your sobriety will last.
When you begin your post-rehab life, most, if not all, factors of your life from while you were in active addiction will need some sort of adjustment. This adjustment period can take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing, but with supportive people in your life you can depend on, the process won’t be quite so painful.
Specific Friends and Family Members
It’s important to choose which friends and family members from your past you will continue to keep in your newly sober life. Individuals with who you used to engage in self-destructive practices or who have enabled your addiction in the past may not be the most encouraging in your fight to keep your sobriety. Although it can be difficult, it may be best to keep your distance from loved ones who are still in active addiction until they are ready to move toward sobriety themselves.
Fellow Recovered Addicts
Fellow recovered addicts can help you to navigate your newly sober life, as they’ve been through similar experiences. It’s likely that they have experienced similar struggles to you and that they have a similar goal of avoiding situations that could cause them to relapse back into addiction. You can create friendships with fellow addicts where you mutually support and encourage one another to maintain a sober lifestyle.
Consider attending an Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12 step program. One of these programs will not only help you fill up free time left behind by old habits, but it will also help connect you with other former addicts with similar goals. Seek out and network with others in the program to appear to be doing well in their recovery.
Engage in New Activities
Now that you no longer have to seek out and abuse substances, you’ll have the time you would have spent on those activities back. Without your addiction, you may feel like you have too much time on your hands, which is why it’s important to engage in new activities and hobbies that can help you to relieve stress in ways that don’t involve drugs and alcohol. Some potential therapeutic hobbies include:
- Creating art (sculpting, drawing, painting)
- Playing sports
- Horseback riding
- Practicing meditation
- Rock climbing
- Learning a new skill or language
By replacing your old addictive habits with new engaging activities, it’s possible you may meet new people with a mutual interest in your hobby. This could be particularly helpful if drugs or alcohol were the catalyst that helped you to bond with people in the past.
Navigating Social Events
If you attend social events in an attempt to make new friends or connect with existing ones, it can be hard to avoid temptation. If you find yourself at an event where alcohol is being served, there are some things you can do to help you maintain your new lifestyle:
- Avoid spending too much time at the event. You can do this by arriving late or early.
- Keep your reasons for becoming sober in mind, and write them down to keep with you if looking at them would help you to avoid temptation.
- Keep food or a non-alcoholic beverage on hand to help distract you from possible temptation and keep your senses occupied.
- Only attend events held by people you trust, who you know will not pressure you to drink.
- Bring a trusted friend or family member with you who is aware of your situation
- Make a plan of how you can leave immediately if you begin to feel overwhelmed or tempted to relapse.
Consider Getting a Therapist
Your support system doesn’t just have to consist of friends and family members; trained professionals can have your back as well. A licensed therapist can be immensely helpful at helping you navigate the new emotions and feelings that come along with transitioning into a life post-rehab. When we go through difficult experiences, it can be tempting to hold our feelings inside for fear of burdening friends or family members with our negative emotions. But when you add a therapist or counselor to your support network, you have someone who can listen to your thoughts and help you work through them in a safe and healthy way. A therapist can help hold you accountable in ways that friends and family members can’t and help you make a plan to navigate any potential challenges that could put you at risk of relapsing.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of who makes up your support network, whether it be friends, family, co-workers, or others, the best kind of person to have to support you is someone who truly has your best interest at heart. Those who want the best for you will encourage you in your new sober lifestyle and won’t put you in compromising situations where you have the potential to relapse.
Let Ardu Recovery Center Help
If you’re seeking guidance on how to help build a good support system for yourself or a loved one after rehab, let the experts at Ardu Recovery Center help. We offer specialized detox and rehabilitation treatment with a specific focus on health so that our patients have a greater chance at long-term success. Call us today to get more information on our programs. We serve the Utah County area in the beautiful state of Utah.